My wife and I took a pleasure trip this weekend to El Lay (or, as Ray Milland famously called it in Panic in Year Zero! , “Loss Ang-lees”).
I was doing a benefit for a charity that, in my opinion, should not have to exist, called the Busted Foundation . They provide financial support to women who are crippled by medical expenses and cannot pay their ongoing living expenses (food, rent) because of a breast cancer diagnosis. Their signature event, “Bowling for Boobies”, was held Sunday night.
Mrs. Monotreme used to live in El Lay so we made a weekend of it and saw her old homestead in Venice and visited the Planetarium in Griffith Park, among other touristy things.
There was some difficulty with the rental car, since my drivers license had expired. I remembered why I had not renewed it — there was a fairly onerous and complicated documentation requirement for drivers’ license renewal this year.
I had blamed it on our Tea Party-dominated State Legislature, but some online research changed my mind. It wasn’t a state law that put these new, onerous requirements in place. It was because of the Federal REAL ID Act that I was having to dig up evidence of my
Social Security number (“not to be used for identification”, it says on
the card). My state had just changed their rules in an attempt to comply with the Act.
So, having returned home today, I gathered together my passport and a W-2 with my name and social security number on it. I decided not to make the additional trip to the safe deposit box where my original social security card (“not for identification”) is kept. I spent probably an additional 15 minutes gathering this required information and I estimate an additional 15 minutes at the DMV dealing with this paperwork (for example, the clerk had to make a photocopy of my documentation).
With 200 million drivers in the United States, that amounts to an estimated 100 million person-hours (let’s say $2 billion in lost time and wages), and for what purpose? Does any of us really think that the borders are safer, or that more of us are secure, because of this Act?
Such a monstrosity must be the product of an over-reaching Socialist state. It’s probably typical of the Democrats to pass such a thing.
I suppose it should come as no surprise that it was passed by a Republican House and Senate and signed into law by a Republican President. I don’t think the relevant facts are in dispute; according to Wikipedia:
The original Real ID Act, H. R. 418, was approved by the House on February 10, 2005 by a vote of 261-161. At the insistence of the Real IDAct sponsor and then House Judiciary Committee Chair F. James Sensenbrenner (Republican, Wisconsin), the Real ID Act was subsequently attached by the House Republican leadership as a rider to H.R. 1268, a bill dealing with emergency appropriations for the Iraq War and with the Tsunami relief funding. H.R. 1268 was widely regarded as a “must-pass” legislation. The original version of H.R. 1268 was passed by the Senate on April 21, 2005 and did not include the Real ID Act. However, the Real ID Act was inserted in the conference report on H.R. 1268 that was then passed by the House on May 5, 2005 by a 368-58 vote and was unanimously passed by the Senate on May 10, 2005. The Senate never discussed or voted on the Real ID Act specifically and no Senate committee hearings were conducted on the Real ID Act prior to its passage. Critics charged that this procedure was undemocratic and that the bill’s proponents avoided a substantive debate on a far-reaching piece of legislation by attaching it to a “must-pass” bill.
A May 3, 2005 statement by the American Immigration Lawyers Association said: “Because Congress held no hearings or meaningful debate on the legislation and amended it to a must-pass spending bill,the REAL ID Act did not receive the scrutiny necessary for most measures, and most certainly not the level required for a measure of this importance and impact. Consistent with the lack of debate and discussion, conference negotiations also were held behind closed doors,with Democrats prevented from participating.”
Is this a vision of our future if the Republicans (or, some version of the Tea Party) take control?